What do most of these artists have in common, besides nabbing the attention of the Recording Academy? Four out of five of them have appeared on either the Pandora Predictions Chart or Pandora Trendsetters Chart, two charts provided by data analytics company Next Big Sound that aim to predict the emerging artists who most likely to break.
The Predictions Chart looks at social growth over the past 90 days to rank the artists most likely to make their debut on the Billboard 200 chart in the next year. The Trendsetters Chart, meanwhile, ranks up-and-coming artists who are seeing the highest number of artist station adds over the past week. Both charts rule out artists whom Next Big Sound considers Mainstream, based on the Taxonomy of Artists. Charts are updated on Next Big Sound on Fridays and on Billboard every Tuesday.
So who might be on the long list for a Best New Artist nomination a year or two from now? We might get a good idea by looking at some of the new faces on the Predictions and Trendsetters charts.
Andrew Bazzi started as a bit of celebrity on Vine, becoming the first person to debut a song as a featured track after building a massive fan base by covering pop and R&B songs. But he isn’t letting the video platform’s shuttering slow him down. Now, he’s got a new look, a new sound and has dropped his first name. Bazzi debuts on the Trendsetters Chart at No. 7 after the success of his recent single “Mine,” which concurrently debuts on the Hot 100 at No. 56.
In January compared to December, Bazzi sees a 325 percent increase in Instagram followers, a 420 percent increase in Pandora artist station adds and a 125 percent increase in Twitter followers. Oh, and for what it’s worth, there’s at least one person predicting that Bazzi will win a Grammy one day: Bazzi.
Atlanta rapper Derez De’Shon is seeing some overtime success with his breakout single “Hardaway,” all thanks to an assist from Birdman. While the song was originally released on De’Shon’s debut album, Pain, last summer, it’s gaining an audience after Birdman and Toni Braxton sampled the song in their similarly titled duet “Heart Away.”
De’Shon saw a sharp increase in artist station adds after the release of “Heart Away” on Jan. 14, and that momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Week-over-week, De’Shon’s artist station adds increase 30 percent. The audience for “Hardaway” is also growing, with the song seeing a 145 percent increase in track station adds and a 45 percent increase in spins month-over-month. De’Shon debuts on the Trendsetters Chart dated Jan. 26 at No. 8.
Louisville-born rapper Harlow saw a bit of viral success late last year with “Dark Knight,” the kinetic standout off his November project Gazebo. Now, “Wasted Youth” – also off Gazebo — is keeping the momentum of “Dark Knight” going, though at a more subdued pace. “Wasted Youth” is currently seeing almost five times as many spins on Pandora as “Dark Knight.” Another sign that he’s no one-hit wonder? His artist station adds are significantly outpacing his track station adds.
As the Gazebo audience grows, so does his following on social media and streaming. Month-over-month, Harlow has seen a 600 percent increase in spins, an 80 percent boost in artist station adds and an 180 percent jump in YouTube subscribers.
After spending his early career penning songs for the likes of Ginuwine and The Pussycat Dolls, Inglewood, Calif.-born SiR – born Sir Darryl Francis — is devoting those talents to his own music. After the Jan. 19 release of November, his second full-length album and first since signing to Top Dawg Entertainment, SiR debuts on the Predictions Chart at No. 20.
The 11-track November has tripled his Pandora audience month-over-month. On social media, he’s seen a 460 percent leap in Facebook page likes, a 300 percent increase in Instagram followers and a 360 percent gain in Twitter followers month on month. He’ll also be heading out next month to open for Miguel on his War & Leisure Tour, so expect those numbers to keep climbing.